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Forum topic by Dzrman posted 02-17-2014 04:06 PM 1717 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1560 days

02-17-2014 04:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: pecan sawmill kiln prices dilemma question tips advice

I cleared some tornado ravaged timber for a neighbor and most of it was 100+ year old pecan. My Dad has talked me into saving a few of the bigger trees and taking them to a sawmill. We’ve got them sawn up and loaded onto semis. However, I had a sawyer come inspect their wood and he tells me that the pecan will need to be kiln dried in order to kill the larvae living in the wood. So, I find myself at a point where I’m not sure if I want to proceed. My estimated 8000 bf of wood was going to cost me $2000 to have sawn and another few dollars to plane. Manageable for a young farmer and his fiancĂ©’s limited availability of funds. But, I price the kiln and the local guys want a $1/bf to dry it! I’m not complaining but I am disappointed. Especially after I had myself and my fiancĂ© convinced we would be able to “do it ourselves” pecan cabinets and trim work in our future home that we are planning to build. Now my question…..what is the rough sawn lumber worth? 1” thick straight off the mill?

I’d like to sell it and recover my costs to pay for enough for my cabinets or just sell it all and use that money to put into savings. Please give me honest prices that I can use to help me make a good decision. I’m located in central Oklahoma.


14 replies so far

View CoachSchroeder's profile


97 posts in 1604 days

#1 posted 02-17-2014 04:32 PM

Would a DIY solar kiln do the job?
You could build one comparatively inexpensively and if you’re a farmer I imagine you have the space.
The forestry department has a lot of great resources available as well as the University of Virginia.

-- -Sam, in Wisconsin

View bigblockyeti's profile


5121 posts in 1721 days

#2 posted 02-17-2014 04:38 PM

That seems amazingly expensive for just drying the lumber. I can get rough sawn, kiln dried red or white oak in my area for $1.25/bd ft. Drying should be closer to $0.25/bd ft. especially with that quantity.

View mahdee's profile


3883 posts in 1768 days

#3 posted 02-17-2014 04:44 PM

I think pecan can sell for $2-3/ BF rough cut. The bottoms to the first branch, depending on grain, maybe $5/BT. $2000 to cut 8000 B/F is reasonable. If you can store it somewhere, a buyer will surely come by. Try Craiglist and put a note on local feed supply stores.


View Dzrman's profile


3 posts in 1560 days

#4 posted 02-17-2014 05:06 PM

I’ve never considered a solar kiln but my local sawyer said the lumber has to be brought up to 160 degrees to kill the larvae in in the wood.

Thanks for the help and the replies. I’m still trying to find some more local kilns. This isn’t timber country so, they’re not too plentiful. Best I can figure the guy who quoted me $1/bf for drying must be using some that high dollar propane!

View mahdee's profile


3883 posts in 1768 days

#5 posted 02-17-2014 05:39 PM

I don’t know where you live but a solar kiln can be built very cheap. Black plastic is used to heat the wood that is placed slightly at a slant. The water in the wood evaporates and drains out.


View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1935 days

#6 posted 02-17-2014 05:43 PM

Man, I honestly don’t think that would be worth it. Sounds to me like $2000 to saw it, plus $8000 to dry it? So $10000 to have 8000 bf of wood? In a sense, that is a good deal, but that is a ton of wood and if I were you, I would want a plan with what I was going to do with it first before I blew that much cash on it. You could either keep it and use it, but it will take you a century to use that much wood, unless you have a big smoker… OR you could try to sell it for a profit, but my guess is it will be a headache and not worth the trouble trying to sell that much wood. I guess my only question is could you go ahead and have it sawn and air dry it yourself? Then just cut out the bad spots with larvae in them?

I just feel that putting $10000 into something that you don’t have professional experience with is a little scary. If you want to spend $10000 on a tractor, that is fine because you are a farmer, but spending $10000 on lumber makes me scared for you. If you lose half, you are $5000 out. Not a small amount. If you have experience dealing lumber, then it is a different story, but it sounds like you don’t.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


298 posts in 1623 days

#7 posted 02-17-2014 05:54 PM

As far as I know, the legal requirement for kiln drying to kill pests only applies to interstate shipment of firewood, though your state may have other rules. For wood you’re using yourself, why can’t you just inspect it and use only pieces with no apparent insect damage? For the rest, sell it green and let the buyer worry about drying it.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2487 days

#8 posted 02-17-2014 06:18 PM

To add to a solar kiln idea….

If there isn’t enough latent heat in your box add a space heater and a dehumidifier. Get a moisture meter. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.

Keep an eye on your drying schedule. You can look online for a decent schedule, possibly at mother earth news.

If you start now you can probably start selling it this fall.

Good Luck and welcome to our madness.

If I was able to travel a couple of hundred miles I would buy some from you.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Randy_ATX's profile


878 posts in 2442 days

#9 posted 02-17-2014 06:27 PM

Reading through your post, it sounds like you don’t need to kiln dry it all. Yes you will need to heat up what you want to use for interior projects to kill all bugs and get it down to proper MC. Stack it and sticker it to air dry it for a couple of months and then move it into a solar kiln. I’ve been researching solar kilns as I have some slabs I will be drying this way. These are the best plans I have found for a DIY project:
The site seems to be down for maintenance a lot but it is working right now. I’m not going to build exactly to plans but use this idea for a template and use as much salvaged materials to build it. I will post as a project once I’m done. Good luck, keep us posted.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2676 days

#10 posted 02-17-2014 06:57 PM

Will they dry it for half? I hear of that around my area

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2971 days

#11 posted 02-17-2014 07:03 PM

I have a quantity of cherry that I am air drying.
One day while re-stacking I noticed some powdery sawdust between layers.
Upon closer inspection there are little pin sized holes in some of the boards.
I found out this is powder post beetle damage.
I also found out they don’t like the heartwood of cherry so most of my damaged wood is sap wood.
This is just one example of the kind of bugs you need to kill with heat.

Might not be too bad with just these little holes. Sometimes used as a selling point in some woods.
I have seen a table advertized as wormy ash, for instance. Wormy chestnut is frequently found in antiques.

But, some bugs/worms leave huge holes, big as a pencil. You also don’t want a customer to find little piles of sawdust on their counter tops.

I’m going to build a solar kiln to fix my wood and prevent further damage.

View firefighterontheside's profile


18205 posts in 1857 days

#12 posted 02-17-2014 07:08 PM

I think grandpa has a good idea. Offer the kiln that they can keep half the wood after dry. You will still have a lot of wood and not be out any further money. It’s worth a try.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Dzrman's profile


3 posts in 1560 days

#13 posted 02-17-2014 11:12 PM

Thanks for all the input. I did some calling today and found that, so far, my cheapest option is a $0.75/bf on a cut/dry deal. That particular sawyer suggested I wait a period of time before I start to dry the pecan. He said getting in a hurry to dry it down will cause it to “honeycomb”. I’m a row crop farmer so I don’t know what you wood guys mean by that but that’s why I want this done professionally. Maybe once I get through this first round, I’ll DIY the next time.
He was in favor of the crop share deal and I should get away with enough to build cabinets and trim without any sawmill money involved. Now, if I can convince him to buy some more, I might be able to whittle down my $6,000/month excavator lease…..

Thanks again fellas.

View WDHLT15's profile


1744 posts in 2476 days

#14 posted 02-19-2014 01:00 PM

How long were the logs down? They likely already have ambrosia beetles. However, as the lumber begins to air dry, the ambrosia beetles cannot live in the dry wood, so they leave, and leave behind little black-lined holes. Besides the cosmetic damage, they are harmless. The real issue is powderpost beetles. They will infest dry wood and make sawdust out of it. They infest the wood after it has lost most of the free moisture which is below about 25%. If your pecan is still relatively wet, that is, it has not been dried over a couple of months, you can treat the wood with a solution of water and Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate. One commercial brand name is TimBor. TimBor is 98% Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate. Mix 1 to 1.5 pounds of the powder in water, let it dissolve, and spray all the boards until they are totally wet with the liquid.

You can also buy Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate that is formulated for agriculture as a boron additive to fertilizer. There are two brands. Solubor, and Beau-Ron D. Both are 98% Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate and are exactly the same as TimBor. However, they are not labeled for pesticide use. Still the same stuff at 1/3 rd the cost.

I can buy Solubor from my local Ag fertlizer place for $50 per 50# bag. They order it for me. Check out TimBor and read the label. Check out Solubor and read the label. You will see that they are the same. This is the Go-To treatment to prevent powerpost beetles, and the borate is very similar to borax and is entirely safe except for insects. If you sprayed your pecan thoroughly while green and air dried it, you would not have to worry about powderpost beetles, and it would save you a ton of money. Then, after it is air dried, you could have it kiln dried for less $ because the wood would already be almost dry and it would take less time in the kiln to get the wood to 8% moisture. Time is what costs in a kiln.

I have found that I can spray 250 BF with 5 gallons of liquid. I use a 25 gallon ATV sprayer that is hooked up to a DC battery pack like the ones used to jump start batteries. It operates at 60 PSI and gives a nice spray. You would need about three 50# bags of Solubor. That should cost less than $200. You can buy the sprayer and a battery pack for about $250 if you do not already have a sprayer. That is $450 or a little less than 6 cents per board foot. Just an option.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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